Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a phone with President Vladimir Putin praised Russia’s military incursion into Ukraine, denouncing what he called Western “hysteria” surrounding it.
Al-Assad told Putin on Friday what was happening in Ukraine was a “correction of history and restoration of balance which was lost in the world after the breakup of the Soviet Union”, the official SANA news agency quoted the Syrian leader as saying.
Al-Assad added: “Syria stands with the Russian Federation based on its conviction that its position is correct and because confronting NATO expansionism is a right for Russia.”
Damascus is a staunch ally of Moscow, which intervened in the Syrian civil war in 2015 by launching air attacks to support al-Assad’s struggling forces against various rebel factions.
Russia’s intervention in Syria marked a turning point in the conflict. It enabled pro-regime forces to wrest back lost territory in a series of victories against rebels involving deadly bombardments and huge destruction.
More than 63,000 Russian military personnel were deployed to Syria.
During Friday’s phone call, al-Assad said, “Western nations bear responsibility for the chaos and bloodshed” in parts of the world, accusing them of using “dirty methods to support terrorists in Syria and Nazis in Ukraine”.
The war in Syria is estimated to have killed nearly half a million people and displaced tens of millions more since it began with a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests in 2011.